By Peter Niedmann
“Summertime, an’ the livin’ is easy…”
There’s no denying the shift from school year to summer is happily welcomed by church musicians. The weekly schedule of rehearsals and meetings is gone; leaving time for all kinds of other endeavors. Vacation is the biggest gift of summer. Getting away completely from work tasks, or even thinking about work, is a restorative joy. [Sometimes, forgetting about work while on vacation isn’t easy: Last summer, my wife and I were vacationing on Block Island. One afternoon I did a double-take. While relaxing on the porch of our inn, Benjamin Straley (Washington National Cathedral organist) sauntered past us in shorts and flip-flops with a bucket of ice!]
Having good substitute organists helps make the vacation more relaxing. Unfortunately, it seems they’ve become more difficult to find. (Check our sub list on the chapter website for available musicians.) John Parsons, who subs for me, has a good line: “I’ll make sure they are happy to have you return!”
While at work in the summer, it’s the perfect time to learn new organ repertoire (see ‘Member’s Roundtable’ in this issue for fresh ideas). It’s also the time to plan choir music for the upcoming season. I always make a list of things we haven’t sung, but should, as well as things we’ve sung but not for some time. And, if you don’t have Liturgical Music for the Revised Common Lectionary by Carl P. Daw, Jr. and Thomas Pavlechko (Church Publishing), get it. It’s an excellent resource for programming anthems and hymns.
I hope you have a relaxing, fun-filled summer. Savor every minute!